PUBLISHED: 10:42 AM on Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Governor Orders State and National Flags to Half Staff for former Governor Jay Hammond

(Juneau) - Governor Frank Murkowski ordered the U.S. flag and the state flag to half staff upon learning of the death of former Governor Jay Hammond. Hammond was 83. In addition, Governor Murkowski issued the following statement regarding Governor Hammond: OWith the passing of former Governor Jay Hammond today, Alaska has lost one of its premier visionaries, a popular leader who epitomized what it means to be an Alaskan, and a fairly good poet.

Jay served as governor from 1974-1982 amid the most hectic period of growth in our young state. He was sworn into office the year that construction began on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and was at the helm when oil began flowing four years later and the state began receiving its share of the oil wealth.

Jay believed that public service was the highest calling a person could undertake and his record of service to the state of Alaska reflects that value well. He served the Bristol Bay region in the state House of Representatives from 1959-1965 before moving to the state Senate where he rose to the post of Senate President. He also served as mayor of the Bristol Bay Borough before his election to governor.

Jay is widely recognized as the champion of the Permanent Fund and the dividend program. He recognized that by giving Alaskans a stake in this vital savings account, the corpus of the fund would remain protected from the political process.

Decades after leaving the Governor's Office, Jay remained an active opinion leader in our state, serving on many blue ribbon panels and penning positions in newspaper columns. To his last days, Jay continued to help guide Alaskans toward greater understanding of the complex issues before us.

Even while in failing health, he remained a prominent champion for a long-term fiscal plan and a strong defender of the Permanent Fund dividend program.

Nancy and I extend our condolences to his wife Bella and their daughters Heidi and Dana.O

The U.S. flag will be lowered until Hammond's funeral. Notice will be sent of the date to raise the U.S. flag once it is confirmed.

The state flag will be lowered for 30 days, commencing today. State flags will be raised again September 1. (Please note that state flags are currently lowered in memory of former State Rep. Drew Scalzi as well.)